Nouvelle acquisition : Social inequality in early medieval Europe : local societies and beyond
The goal of this book is to discuss the theoretical challenges posed by the study of social and political inequality of local societies in Western Europe during the Early Middle Ages. Traditional approaches have defined rural communities as passive bodies, poor and unstable in the framework of a self-sufficient economy. In the last few decades, social approaches both in medieval history and archaeology have neglected the opportunity to re-evaluate the role of peasantry and other subaltern groups, even where new written and material evidence has challenged traditional assumptions. Conversely, scholars focussing on elites and aristocracies have promoted powerful research agenda.
As a consequence of the 2007-2008 recession, the social sciences began to be interested in social and economic inequality, opening up new avenues for a reassessment of social history. The early medieval period has been identified by numerous scholars as a key arena for the analysis of political complexity and social inequality in long-term perspective.
The study of local societies has become one of the most fruitful areas for innovative research in medieval archaeology and history, using approaches related to micro-history. This book, dedicated to Chris Wickham, is formed of fourteen papers centred on early medieval local communities drawing on both written and material records, which identify complex frameworks of social inequality at the local scale. (4e de couv.)
Juan Antonio Quirós Castillo is professor of Medieval Archaeology at the University of the Basque Country (Spain), Honorary Research Associate at the Institute of Archaeology of the University College London (UK), and editor of the series Documents of Medieval Archaeology. He is the author of different books, including Arqueología de una comunidad campesina medieval: Zornoztegi (Álava), 2019; Social complexity in Early Medieval Rural Communities. The north-western Iberia archaeological record, 2016 and El poblamiento rural de época visigoda en Hispania. Arqueología del campesinado en el interior peninsular, 2013.